EARLY HOMININS WERE CUTTING INTO ANIMAL BONES 3.4 MILLION YEARS AGO!
Cut marks on two 3.4-million-year-old animal bones from Ethiopia were thought to be evidence that the beasts had been trampled by other animals long ago, but new research suggests that's not the case.
The new results debunk one theory for how the bones got their marks, and support — but do not, on their own, definitively prove — the alternative hypothesis that ancient human ancestors cut the bones. If that latter hypothesis turns out to be true, it would mean hominins — the group of species that consists of humans and their relatives after the split from the chimpanzee lineage — were butchering animals 800,000 years earlier than scientists had previously thought.
Combined with recent evidence that human predecessors used stone tools about 3.3 million years ago, the new study could help change the picture of human ancestors of the genus Australopithecus, whose members include the famous "Lucy" skeleton. [In Photos: 'Little Foot' Human Ancestor Walked With Lucy]